You don’t need to leave the city to take a hike up to stellar views. While most people make tracks to Twin Peaks for a classic hilltop vista, less than a mile north is tiny and mighty Tank Hill. Driving right to its base is an option, but it’s more fun to include it as part of a 2-mile (round-trip) urban hike that puts the trot back into the turkey. Starting from the corner of Frederick and Cole streets in Cole Valley, walk south along Cole Street. Make a right on Parnassus Avenue and a left on Shrader Street. (To add an extra half-mile to the trip, check out Farnsworth Stairs, which lead up to more quintessential views of the city. Directions below.) Shrader’s steep but manageable incline leads all the way to Tank Hill. The final section is on a dirt path with wood stairs. Standing at the rocky outcropping’s apex, the scenery thrills visitors and locals alike: Mount Tam and the Golden Gate beam to the north, San Francisco and its parks glint below, and a gleaming Mount Diablo struts its massive profile to the east. On a clear day, Bolinas and Stinson beaches can be seen on the horizon. Feast for the eyes!
TIP: Warm up at the EOS Wine Bar with curried pumpkin soup and a flight of their Old World Wine (901 Cole Street at Carl).
From Frederick and Cole, walk south on Cole for two blocks and turn right on Parnassus. To check out the Farnsworth Stairs, continue on Parnassus for 4 blocks and make a left on Willard. The Farnsworth Stairs will be on your right after about 100 feet. Return back to Parnassus. To get to Tank Hill from Parnassus, head south on Shrader St. all the way. It joins Belgrave Ave. and dead ends at Tank Hill. Descend Tank Hill on the south side heading toward Sutro Tower. Walk down the stairs, which takes you to Twin Peaks Blvd., and turn left. This intersects with Clayton where you continue until Ashbury St. where you veer right. Walk down Ashbury for a few blocks to Frederick where you turn left to reach the starting point. Reach this hike via bus #37 or 43. Dog-friendly!